“Belle the Ballerina”
When Belle was born in 2007, she was the last foal I would have thought I would end up keeping. She was plain in appearance, a bit spunky in attitude yet not quite as confident as the rest of her siblings. In her very early years, her lack of confidence made any sort of training difficult between the two of us since I didn’t have the patience or understanding that I needed to bring out her urge to please. I ignorantly deemed her “stupid” and quickly dismissed her.
When it was time to start her and her two sisters, she had matured quite a bit. Even with the small amount of handling my youngsters received in the years between weanling and 3, she had realized how spoiled she could be if she played along. The first time I placed her on the lunge, I knew I had found a diamond in the rough. She trotted around like Rue Paul on a runway as if she knew she had to prove herself to stay. My mother had been waiting for one of her foals to be her potential prospect and I knew Belle was the one. What I didn’t know, was that she would end up being MY ONE.
This year, I set a goal and I reached it. I competed in a CDI with Belle – a horse that I bred and started myself – and most importantly, I was happy with my performance. Belle and I have had a lot of bad rides, but I always knew we could do better. I had a lot to figure out. Not just how to ride, but how to stay disciplined and focused.
So, I write these words, not to beat myself up, but to encourage those of you on the same journey. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had. Through the ups and downs I stayed determined, I found the right resources, and I didn’t give up. If you read my blog Finding Our Way, then you know, I made every mistake possible in the schooling ring before my I1 CDI ride. I used to win the warm-up and then lose the class. If there is one thing I have learned from this journey it’s that it is in our failures that we learn how to succeed.